Contribution of Buddhist Mindfulness to the Transformation of Conflicts – Dependent Origination (paticca-samuppāda) and Deconstruction of Identity

  • Anja ZALTA University of Ljubljana
Keywords: mindfulness, Theravāda Buddhism, violence, conflict transformation, dependent origination (paticca-samuppāda)


The article presents Buddhist mindfulness as a method for conflict transformation. On the basis of the concept of paticca-samuppāda (dependent origination) and anatta (nonself) the article (de)constructs the phases of identity formation. In Buddhist understanding, conflict is the result of defensiveness and misconceptions, and thus it is central to understand the mechanism by which the idea of “I” or “self” is established. The purpose of mindfulness is (among other things) to achieve a radical change in perception, which leads to “de-automatization” of mental mechanisms and suspends the identification with sensory and mental experiences that an individual calls a separate “I”. Since the Buddhist approach to conflict is based on a theory of cognition, this article emphasizes the individual effort needed for conflict transformation. Only later could or should this knowledge be applicable to a wider social environment, taking into account the diversity of socio-cultural conditions.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Anja ZALTA, University of Ljubljana
Sociology Department


Brazier, Caroline. 2003. Buddhist Psychology: Liberate Your Mind, Embrace Life. London: Robinson.

Bodhi, Bhikkhu. 1984. The Great Discourse of Causation: The Māhanidāna Sutta and Its Commentaries. Kandy: Buddhist publication Society.

Bond, George D. 2004. Buddhism at Work, Community Development, Social Empowerment and the Sarvodaya Movement. West Hartford: Kumarian Press. Cakkavatti – Sihananda Sutta. Accessed March 3, 2015. http://www.basicbud-

Edelglass, Willam, and Jay Garfield. 2009. Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings. Oxford: University Press.

Kuttner, Ran. 2012. “From Positionality to Relationality: A Buddhist-Oriented Relational View of Conflict Escalation and Its Transformation.” Peace and Conflict Studies 20 (1): 58–82. Accessed June 17, 2015. http://nsuworks.nova. edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1144&context=pcs.

Gethin, Rupert. 1998. The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Gnanarama, Pategama. 1998. Aspects of Early Buddhist Sociological ought. Singa-pore: Ti-Sarana Buddhist Association.

Gorkom, van Nina. 2010. The Conditionality of Life, An Outline of the Twenty-Four Conditions as Taught in the Abhidhamma. London: Zolag.

Harris, Elizabeth J. 1994. Violence and Disruption in Society, A Study of the Early Buddhist Texts. Kandy: The Wheel Publication.

Harvey, Peter. 1990. An Introduction to Buddhism, Teaching, History and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Izutsu, Toshihiku. 1979. Toward a Philosophy of Zen Buddhism. Tehran: Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy.

McConnell, John A. 1995. Mindful Mediation: A Hand Book for Buddhist Peace-makers. Kandy: Buddhist Cultural Centre.

Nhat Hanh, Tich. 2010. Together We Are One: Honouring Our Diversity, Celebrating Our Connection. Berkley: Parallax Press.

Queen, S. Christopher and Sallie B. Queen, eds. 1996. Engaged Buddhism, Buddhist Liberation Movement in Asia. New York: State University of New York Press.

Piyadassi, Thera. 2008. Dependent Origination. The Wheel Publication vol. 15. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society.

The Dhammapada. 1985. The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom, translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society. Accessed June 20, 2015. le/scrndhamma.pdf.

Zalta, Anja. 2013. “The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement and Its ‘Dual Awakening’ Concept.” In Faith in Civil Society: Religious Actor at Drivers of Change, edited by Heidi Moknes and Mia Melin, 185–9. Uppsala: Uppsala University, Centre for Sustainable Development.

Walshe, Maurice. 2012. The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of Digha Nikay. Boston: Wisdom Publication.
How to Cite
ZALTAA. (2016). Contribution of Buddhist Mindfulness to the Transformation of Conflicts – Dependent Origination (paticca-samuppāda) and Deconstruction of Identity. Asian Studies, 4(2), 139-151.